Dolly Parton Donates $1 Million to Coronavirus Research

The country music legend, who recently launched a YouTube read aloud series for homebound families, is now contributing to the effort to come up with a cure.

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- Posted on Apr 3, 2020

Dolly Parton

Beloved country music legend Dolly Parton recently announced on her social media that she's donating $1 million to Vanderbilt Hospital to help fund coronavirus research, as experts there race to find a cure. Dr. Naji Abumrad, who has been involved in research at the Nashville hospital, is a longtime friend of Dolly's.

"When he informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus cure," she said on Today with Hoda & Jenna. "I wanted to help."

Parton said researchers are making "great strides" in creating a "bridge treatment to save lives, while they find a cure.”

The Nashville medical center has a special place in Dolly's heart, after her niece, Hannah Dennison, was cared for there during her battle with leukemia. "They saved her life," Dolly said on the 3rd Hour of Today. Dolly was so grateful that she donated a butterfly garden in Hannah's name. 

The music superstar, who is used to performing for crowds, also shared how she's dealing with staying at home these days. In addition to reading aloud to children from her Imagination Library books on YouTube every Thursday night, Dolly's relying on prayer and laughter while cooped up. And, of course, she's singing. 

"I'm singing a lot of old Gospel songs that I grew up singing and I'm busy writing parodies of my own songs like 'Jolene, don't touch my man but if you do please go wash your hands.' Goofy stuff because I still believe laughter is the best medicine,"she told the NBC morning show duo in the remote appearance from her home in Nashville, sitting at her keyboard with a guitar by her side. "I'll do maybe a thought for the day and a scripture and then a joke, anything to kind of lift people's spirits up."

Dolly said she knows it's not easy for anyone to be stuck home all day. "I've been trying to lift up people around me and trying to keep peace in the household, since we're all trapped together in our houses," she said.

But she reminds us that brighter days are coming.  "I see God in all of this," she said. "He's trying to hold us up to the light so we can see ourselves and see each other through the eyes of love." 

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